The phrase “growth hacker” was first coined by Sean Ellis back in 2010.
To use the most succinct definition from Sean’s post, “A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growth."
Every decision that a growth hacker makes is informed by growth. Every strategy, every tactic, and every initiative, is attempted in the hopes of growing. Growth is the sun that a growth hacker revolves around.
Of course, traditional product managers and marketers care about growth too, but not to the same extent.
This absolute focus on growth has given rise to a number of methods, tools, and best practices, that simply didn’t exist in the traditional marketing repertoire, and as time passes the chasm between the two discipline deepens.
Growth Hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing funnel, product development, sales segments, and other areas of the business to identify the most efficient ways to grow a business. It involves cross-functional teams and rapid-tempo testing and iteration that focuses on customers: attaining them, retaining them, engaging them, and motivating them to come back and buy more. It is particularly prevalent with startups, when the goal is rapid growth in the early-stages of launching a new product or service to market.
The 3 key growth levers to hack into:
How do your potential customers find you?
How do you turn your potential customers into paying customers?
How do you keep your customers coming back?
A growth hacking workshop is a fun 2-4 hour workshop during which the most impactful interventions to drive growth is identified. The outcome is a prioritised list of 4-6 week experiments to test the hypothesis behind the proposed interventions.
We again use design sprints to run growth experiments in rapid-fire succession to see which ones produces the biggest growth wins.
Every experiment starts by defining a narrow, actionable goal. Yes, the overall goal is growth, but you don’t attain that kind of end-result without breaking it into smaller, achievable, tasks. For example the experiment goal could be to "improve online lead conversion rate by 20%".
Next you want to implement analytics to track your goals. Without analytics, goals are empty. If you can’t definitively say when a goal has been reached then you have not completed the requisite requirements before moving ahead. Furthermore, analytics will give you valuable data which can change your goals.
Now you are ready to run your experiment which in most cases involves building a prototype and testing it with real users.
The prototype is anything that will enable you to learn, for eample a sales brochure, a website or social media page, a de-feature version of the product or even just a power point presentation.
Remember you can learn from successes and failures. Even if an experiment fails you will have undoubtedly gathered a lot of information about your product and your users that can be used in future experiments.
Learn more about design sprints here.